The BRC has emphasised the need for clarity on future trading across the Northern Irish border following the Brexit transition deal agreed this week. 

The body raised concerns about the emergency “backstop” plan to keep Northern Ireland under EU law during the transitional period between March 29, 2019 and December 2020.

The clause is intended to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland as the UK negotiates the trade deals that will define its future relationship with the EU.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson argued that a hard border between the ROI and the UK would take a toll on consumer spending.

She said: “Retailers and consumers need the free flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to continue even after the transition expires to prevent delays on the movement of goods across the border, which would impact on product availability for shoppers.”

She has called for the issue to be addressed at the next stage of negotiations.

However, the BRC views the overall agreement as a step in the right direction. It said it is the “same result the retail industry needs for the final deal”.